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Facebook Helps Israel Blacklist Air Travellers 478

Posted by timothy
from the but-very-gently dept.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "According to a report by the Associated Press, protesters have been stopped in their tracks after Facebook aided Israel in cracking down on the group of activists from the UK, France, and Belgium who planned their event using the popular social networking site. Facebook allowed government agents to track the activists activities and then create a black-list of people who participated in the planning of the protests. The black-listed group was then forwarded to airlines with instructions to prevent the activists from boarding air flights to Israel. Over 200 activists were prevented from flying after being added to the airlines terrorism watch list, according the the AP report. Was Julian Assange correct, when he warned that Facebook was a giant, 'appalling spy machine'?"
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Facebook Helps Israel Blacklist Air Travellers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:29AM (#36709874)

    Facebook is in routine use by various "authorities " to profile people. So why not the Israelis?

    And in other news. Bears shit in woods.

    • by cgeys (2240696) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:42AM (#36709912)
      It's double-standard really. Not just from Facebook, but every other US company from Microsoft to Google too.. When it's against United States/Israel it's "terrorism", when it's against China, Russia or other non-western countries it's "helping activists to spread their message and bring down oppressive governments". Most Americans seem to think the same way, but for others like me who are european both sides seem like oppressive governments with huge amount of problems and most interest mostly being fighting or having wars with each other (yes, Europe too has its history and we're certainly learned from that.. well, the nordic countries at least. And we were originally vikings)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by migla (1099771)

        Europe too has its history and we're certainly learned from that.. well, the nordic countries at least. And we were originally vikings

        We're in Afghanistan, fighting side by side with the bigger "liberators" and when our young die there, headlines proclaim "HEROES".

        We are buying in to the terrorism scare and we are latching onto one side of the sides that one must be for or against, inviting zealots to blow shit up here too.

        Whatever we may have learned, we are forgetting.

        • by ultranova (717540)

          We're in Afghanistan, fighting side by side with the bigger "liberators" and when our young die there, headlines proclaim "HEROES".

          To be fair, the Taliban are not nice people. Whether this justifies overthrowing them or not is a messy and complex moral problem, but you certainly can't overthrow them and then abandon the country you just stripped of its rulers. Once you're in, you're in, and must see it through until order is restored.

          But no, I don't think us Nordic countries should ever have gotten involve

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @06:30AM (#36710064) Homepage Journal

        I'll admit - I have two standards. I've become more aware of it in recent times. Some rogue nation does "x" against it's citizens, and I judge it as terrible. Then the US does something similar, and I judge it as a PITA.

        In this case, I see Israel doing something that I would condemn the US for, but I don't condemn Israel as harshly.

        Hmmm. Why is that? I'm not a Zionist. Could be, my military background. If Israel is to survive, then they had better use everything at their disposal, and use it efficiently. On the other hand, the US isn't fighting for it's very survival, so the same actions would be less forgiveable, I guess.

        Yeah, I have double standards. Unfortunately, a lot of people deny having their own double standards. And, least of all, can they be expected to understand those double standards.

        In reality, we've all admitted that "there's no privacy on the internet". All governments are busy data mining Facebook, and all the rest of the web. This should have been expected. Just like we've discovered that electronically aiding protestors in Arabic countries can, in some instances, expose those protestors to the government. It's to be expected. That doesn't make it right - just expected.

        • So, essentially, you're saying that the people fighting the US in Afghanistan with desperate means like suicide bombers are doing what's justified to fight for the survival of their way of life?

          • Well, yes, kind of. The Afghans, the Pakis, and the Taliban should be permitted to live in the tenth century, if they so wish. They should be permitted to keep their women barefoot and pregnant, and serving the men. That's all well and good.

            The problem in Afghanistan is, those inbred tribals gave refuge to Al Queda after AQ had attacked the United States.

            Today, we've killed off much of AQ, we've killed off a lot of the Taliban, it's time to come home. Past time. Let those inbreds live their lives as th

            • by peragrin (659227) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:33AM (#36710320)

              No those inbred tribals gave refuge to Al queda after the CIA helped form Al queda to drive out the Soviets, and then left them there. If we spent a little time and money there rebuilding, and teaching them 30 years ago, then Al Queda wouldn't have turned against us(or wouldn't have had as much local support as they did)

              If you want to bring peace to someone. You have to be prepared to spend 50 years there. We have to stay in Afgahnistan and iraq for another 40 years. Or they will fall into absolute chaos for 10 years.

              • There are those who believe anarchy and chaos are good things. Personally, I don't give a damn. Those people have been at war with all outsiders for a long damned time. "Outsiders" include most of India, and "a long damn time" predates England and France's interest in the area. They were at war when Alexander the Great decided to take a part in events there, and nothing has changed since.

                • You could say the same about India, China, Persia. You could not about England of the USA, but only because these are "moden" creation.

            • So leave another country with loose ends? After all, the whole shit is home made. Back when the Ruskies invaded Afghanistan, the CIA actually shipped the fanatics over by the boatload. Back then Ozzy was our best buddy in the far east. Technically, it wasn't those inbred tribals who invited Al Quaida over, we shipped them there. Without asking too much whether they're welcome there. But when Russia decided they don't wanna play cowboys and indians anymore, suddenly the US didn't give half a shit anymore abo

        • If Israel is to survive, then they had better use everything at their disposal, and use it efficiently.

          UMM are we talking about a bunch of terrorists making plans on Facebook to attack Israel or are we talking about people excercising what should be a basic human right to protest against a government they don't like. FTFA

          Israel has not publicized its criteria for denying entry, but has said peaceful visitors will not be deported. The large numbers of people who were blocked indicated that Israel was giving few activists the benefit of the doubt.

          Governments should be able to set up some rules that define who, where and sometimes when people can protest but it looks like Israel is writing the rules as they go along.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jklovanc (1603149)

        "China, Russia or other non-western countries" are not surrounded by countries that have attacked them five times in the last sixty years. They are not bombarded with rockets from a neighbouring country. No country has stated that their goal is to wipe them from the face of the earth. All of these things are happening to Israel.

        Palestinians will get no sympathy from me when with one hand they point at Israel being an oppressive regime and lob rockets with the other. Stop attacking Israel and Israel will st

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by next_ghost (1868792)
          China, Russia and many other countries, unlike Israel, were not founded by a bunch of armed immigrants who came to the area less than 30 years before declaring independence. And China, Russia and many other countries, unlike Israel, didn't drive most of the original population out by force. It's interesting how people defend Israel by pointing at attacks against it while conveniently forgetting that it was Israel that started the fight in 1948 without any legitimate claim to the region.
      • It's double-standard really. Not just from Facebook, but every other US company from Microsoft to Google too.. When it's against United States/Israel it's "terrorism", when it's against China, Russia or other non-western countries it's "helping activists to spread their message and bring down oppressive governments". Most Americans seem to think the same way, but for others like me who are european both sides seem like oppressive governments with huge amount of problems and most interest mostly being fighting or having wars with each other (yes, Europe too has its history and we're certainly learned from that.. well, the nordic countries at least. And we were originally vikings)

        of course. every guy supports and helps his own country before other countries. how can you be pissed about that?
        its the same as me having a double standard favoring members of my family. if two people are about to die and need my help, and i can help only one person and one of the two people is my brother, OF COURSE i'm gonna have double standards. similarly, us companies will, and should, be in agreement with american policies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:34AM (#36709882)

    Most groups in Facebook are public by default. They are also public to those who belong to the group. So they didn't have to do any super-spy type thing. It's the users of the group who left themselves out in the open.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      I consider everything I put on facebook "public". Even though I tighten my "privacy" settings, be selective with whom I share stuff with - nevertheless anything posted there I consider "public". That means, only things that I don't really mind anyone knowing I will post there.

      And for more personal matters, phone or e-mail. Using FB to exchange e-mail addresses is acceptable. Then use e-mail to exchange phone numbers, not FB, as I care more about my phone number than my e-mail address.

      FB doesn't exactly ha

  • Oh, big wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp (186804) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:35AM (#36709888) Homepage

    At least they didn't just let the protesters get there and gun them down. This is surprisingly restrained behaviour from the Israeli government.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sosume (680416)

      Seems to me like the Israelis have every right to decide who enters their country.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bjourne (1034822)
        Except for the parts that isn't "theirs" but stolen in wars of conquest. And not all Israelis are idiots, many of them welcome the international protests.
        • Re:Oh, big wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jacobsm (661831) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:03AM (#36710208)

          Then by your logic the Americans should get out of the parts of the country that were won by conquests, which is most of the country including the original 13 colonies.

          I'm not even going to start on the European countries, or the precious Arabs.

          Get over it. Israel won it's wars fair and square. If the Arabs won a single war do you think for a minute that there wouldn't have been a holocaust that would make the Nazi's look like amateurs?

          • by Lehk228 (705449)
            Why do you think so many americans are israeli apologists, if we acknowledge their actions as evil it leads back to the greater evils we committed against the american indians
            • by Raenex (947668)

              It's common knowledge, even in the United States and in history books, that we fucked over the American Indians. That's not why we support Israel.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Most countries are made up of parts stolen in wars of conquest. Your point is?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The country was created and given to them by a UN resolution. Also you neglect to mention that the parts that were "stolen" in wars of conquest, was actually stolen from the "conquestadors"(Jordan, Egypt, Syria). If they hadn't started a war of conquest against Israel, their land would not have been stolen. Unfortunately for them, due to their lame military which could not beat Israel even when they outnumbered, outgunned out surrounded her, they did not gain any territory, but instead lost it. Whining abou

        • That would be an interesting point, except for the fact that the countries they took that land from don't want it back (well ok, Syria wants the Golan Heights back, but that's just so they can use it to launch rockets against Israel from it).
        • Re:Oh, big wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jklovanc (1603149) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @08:13AM (#36710456)

          Wars of conquest are prosecuted by aggressors. Every war Israel has been involved in has either been started by Arabs (War of Independence, Yom Kippur, War of Attrition), in response to being denied access to the Suez Canal, blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba and attacks from the Gaza Strip(Sinai War, Six day War) . The only reason Israel exists today is due to these defensive wars. The only land they occupy has been used as bases by aggressors.

          The Palestinians started the war after Palestine was partitioned by the UN. They lost the war and are still fighting using terrorist techniques. Hamas does not even recognize Israel's right to exist and one of it's founding tenants is to destroy Israel.

          Yes there are major issues that Israel needs to address; Jewish settlements in the West Bank, return of refugees, etc. On the other hand, suicide bombers and rocket attacks do not garner my sympathy for the Palestinians. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip voted for Hamas and are getting what they voted for. Peace will only come when Hamas accepts Israel's right to exist and stops terrorist violence.

          Just for your information I am a Gentile from Canada and have no religious reason for supporting Israel. Perhaps you should look at the history of Israel before making baseless assumptions.

        • by Ihmhi (1206036)

          Oh please, enough of this shit. Practically ever square meter of inhabitable land on this planet was once owned by someone else and stolen.

        • Don't wars of conquest usually require the 'conquerer' to initiate the invasion? If I remember correctly the US and international community forced Israel to abducate much of their gained territory even though the other arab countries initiated hostilities.

        • Wars of conquest? Let's see...fighting for independence from Britain...fighting against neighbors who keep invading their country...yup, sounds like "conquest" to me.
      • by St.Creed (853824)

        And gun them down. Although, come to think of it, most *civilized* nations don't exactly do that with random people stepping from the plane. But hey, it's Israel. We can overlook a few corpses here and there, right?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      At least they didn't just let the protesters get there and gun them down. This is surprisingly restrained behaviour from the Israeli government.

      You mean like an Arab government?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Prikolist (1260608)

      You mean like the governments of Arab nations like Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iran..? Were you even watching the news this year?

  • "Facebook aided"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:35AM (#36709890)

    There's a difference between facebook actively aiding Israel officials, and those officials viewing the members of a facebook group. Maybe not planning activities in a publicly-viewable setting would have helped these people?

    Police, officials, whatever, viewing publicly-accessible information posted on social media sites is a Good Thing, occasionally. If you don't _want_ it viewed, don't post it publicly [and please note, I don't mean, don't post it online. Some medium of privacy should be expected, and the summary and my [brief] skim of TFA didn't say this was privacy violation in any way].

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:35AM (#36709892) Homepage

    Anything to do with Facebook, Israel and super hidden government agents is going to be bad. For those who have not watched Pilger's film The War you Don't see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ah20IAyYxg [youtube.com]

    I know Julian and he is also quite right about facebook being an appalling spying machine. I loathe facebook with a passion, but there again I am a non-conformist, facebook is the sheep following sheep society and if that is not enough, people get emotionally blackmailed into using it. You do not need facebook, you need a life!

    • And if you are publicly showing your intentions there is no need for espionage.

      A few years ago it was in the news that a drug dealer was arrested after leaving leaflets explaining what he was, what he was offering or how to get to him. Somehow, I doubt that the lawyer claimed that the police had been using its "spying machine".

    • but there again I am a non-conformist, facebook is the sheep following sheep society and if that is not enough,

      You're so non-conformist. I also hate all those Sheeple around us [xkcd.com].

  • by Kifoth (980005) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:38AM (#36709898)
    The closest it comes to describing what happened is: Israel had tracked the activists on social media sites, compiled a blacklist of more than 300 names and asked airlines to keep those on the list off flights to Israel. and "These people announced on their Internet sites that they planned to come here and cause

    disruptions, and told their friends."

    Sounds like they bragged in public, using their own names. And nothing more.

    It's shit like this, Slashdot...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by magusxxx (751600)

      "These people announced on their Internet sites that they planned to come here and cause disruptions, and told their friends."

      Sounds like they bragged in public, using their own names. And nothing more.

      What's the difference between this and what happened during the 1960's when people wanted to see Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak and were turned away?

    • I don't think /. or the article mean to imply anything other than what you took it to mean. The headline of the story

      Facebook help Israel Blacklist Air Travelers

      simply means that Facebook, the service helped Israel compile this blacklist, the same way the activists used it to coordinated their efforts. The context of how Facebook is used isn't clear from the headline, which actually makes it a good headline because people will read it. Hopefully they will understand once they do, that they were referring to the service, and not the company when th

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      I didn't get the impression that Facebook had done anything proactively, as you appear to have. Granted, not the clearest summary I have ever seen, but by /. standards, this is pretty clear.

    • Sounds like they bragged in public, using their own names. And nothing more.

      It's shit like this, Slashdot...

      o_O ...And this is is the part where I say you're a moron if you believe I don't use YOUR name, Paul, to brag in public about my anti-copyright protests.

      Well, perhaps I don't use your name; Maybe someone else does, and I use some other's name... In reality, without Facebook's Help, how would they verify that the IP addresses posting as Susan Someone really belongs to Susan, and not Jane?

      Are you suggesting that they just took the names and added them to the no-fly list without identity verification? Is this not even more outrageous?

      Go ahead. Continue to ignore the ease of which I can now use your name online to falsely incriminate you... If you are not outraged now, then maybe you will be when you can't fly, ride a train, get a driver's license, or vote because of something I said or did using your name?

  • by igreaterthanu (1942456) * on Sunday July 10, 2011 @05:58AM (#36709976)
    So anyone could setup a fake profile with someone else's name, join one of these groups and then that person goes on the terrorism watch list? Sounds fair to me.
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @06:07AM (#36710006) Homepage

    Is a bunch of young Israeli lawyers working round the clock sustained only by Diet Coke, falafel and cigarettes about to pull off the legal equivalent of the Six-Day War? [melaniephillips.com] A really good link which you should read. Here is another. [informatio...nation.net]

    The Israelis have learned from the last flotilla, and hacked international law to serve their ends. The law firm Shurat HaDin [israellawcenter.org] (motto: "Bankrupting Terrorism - One Lawsuit at a Time") has done a bang-up job worthy of admiration, even if you're one of those people who thinks (like Hamas, the recipient of the aid flotilla) that Israel has no right to exist. I really recommend reading the link above, it does a great job of laying out what exactly has been done. They wrote letters to the insurers of the boat, warning them that under international law they would be legally liable for the consequences of helping Hamas. They informed INMARSAT that continuing their service exposed the company to liability. And, most hilariously, the legendary Greek bureaucracy has helped tremendously. Once a complaint is filed and an investigation started, the Greeks aren't exactly known for efficiency. American government is a model of speed compared to this.

    Some more interesting facts: there is no pressing need for the aid flotilla. The last convoy actually succeeded in making the Israelis open up land borders and things are super in Gaza now. If the goal was to actually deliver aid, then the flotilla could dock in Egypt and have the goods delivered overland [jpost.com], permission has already been granted. Of course, this offer was refused because that's not the goal of the flotilla. It exists only to remove Israel's legitimacy as an entity (in other words, the same goal as Hamas). Yeah, yeah, right, you don't believe me. OK, how about what Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and a board member of the Free Gaza Movement said at a speech at Rutgers (to enormous applause, by the way)

    Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and the Arab world...to one between the rest of the world and Israel.

    Nobody in the Free Gaza movement gives a shit about being a delivery boy for rice and cooking oil. Journalists should really listen when organizations state their goals in public, but who gives a shit when the facts don't fit the narrative. [justjournalism.com]

    • by jovius (974690) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @07:57AM (#36710418)

      Flotilla is a statement against the Gaza blockade AKA collective punishment on general civilian population. Hamas only slightly won Fatah in the elections, and Hamas got the votes of about 30% of the population. The gazans are suffering because of small number of islamists and their israeli counterparts, who wish to have the palestinian areas fully included in a Greater Israel.

      Polarizing the issue leads the public astray, because the real issue are the palestinians who are exploited by multitude of parties to promote their selfish political agendas. Every single death of any nationality or religion of any of the sides is exhaustively politicized and used as a straw man to polarize the conflict even more.

      If the human rights were universally applied Israel and palestinians would live in either two distinct nations or in one nation of Israel, which by definition would not be a Jewish state. Because of the insistence of having a distinct Jewish state which many say should encompass all palestinian areas too the palestinians are bound to suffer, and because the islamists are promoting their narrow minded ideology the palestinians (of which small number are actually Christians and Jewish) are bound to suffer too.

      The conflict history is full of provocative acts by any of the sides and the real moral high ground is with jewish conscientous objectors and human rights activists as well as their arab counterparts. Sustaining the black&white distinctions is essential for promoting the violent nationalistic objectives of either side, and much of the global cheer is directed for or against the sides (which they both like) instead of directing the energy to protect the civilian populations against the exploitation.

      The conflict is rotten from the core and almost everything in it is totally corrupted including the Flotillas to some extent. Somewhere on the road the civilians continue their suffering and play their part in the charade.

  • They deserve it. When you post information on the facebook, don't complain when someone reads it.
  • Of course, governments have been trying to deny people the opportunity to protest for generations. Sometimes their concerns are legitimate (e.g. riots due to the mob mentality), and sometimes they are not (since some protests are genuinely peaceful).

    Even with the Facebook angle, I'm fairly certain that the situation is not unique. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister of Canada) was barring activists from the opposition due to statements on Facebook months prior to this Israel thing. And if Harper's Conservativ

  • Terrorism wha list? (Score:5, Informative)

    by radio4fan (304271) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @06:21AM (#36710048)

    Where does it say in the article that they were added to the 'terrorism watch list'?

    In fact the Israelis told the airlines that the people on the list would not be allowed to enter Israel, so the airlines prevented them from flying.

    There's no mention of terrorism: the submitter made that bit up.

  • Some Clarity... (Score:2, Informative)

    by RL78 (1968236)
    This story isn't about Facebook, as a company helping Israel blacklist these activists. This is a story about how Facebook's service was used as a tool to compile this blacklist. Slashdot, nor the linked article mean to imply that FB, the company actively provided any assistance other than what the service already provides, to everyone. When it's said the Facebook aided Israel in spying on the activist, the correct context again is that Israel used Facebook's services which aided in monitoring these indivi
  • Umm, duh? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tridus (79566) on Sunday July 10, 2011 @06:53AM (#36710162) Homepage

    You mean if you plan things in a publically accessable area on the Internet, other people might read it and plan accordingly?

    Are these people really stupid enough to think this would somehow work? I guess for their next act they'll discuss plans to eat & dash at a restraurant by yelling the plans to each other right outside the restraurant front door?

  • World and Palestinians have waited far too long. Israel does not want peace, it want's to continue it's ethnic cleansing. It is time for people in free world (not counting USA where this is apparently illegal) to boycott Israel in same way as South Africa was boycotted during Apartheid.

    If you see any product where the numbers on barcode start with 729, don't it! It comes from Apartheid country, that does routinely war crimes, tortures and kills people (including children), does slow motion ethnic cleaning e

    • by Gryle (933382)
      I even refuse meet people from dating sites if they are from Israel

      Well I wasn't convinced, but that statement made me a believer in your righteousness! Your Nobel Peace Prize is already on its way, good sir!
  • Why does everyone behave like the internet is automatically a private forum? At best, it is semi-private, and generally it is a public forum. These people started a public Facebook event. No spying necessary. Don't want everyone, including the authorities and people who may not like what you are doing, to know what you are doing, don't post it in a public forum.

  • its hard to call it a "spy" machine when its public access and you put your data there willingly for all to see. It is not much different if your group puts their pictures and 'hey lets do this' on the bulletin board in their local library or grocery store.

    Its a *voluntary* 'data collection machine'... nothing more, nothing less.

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